This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Audiences set lineup for spring Buffalo Film Seminars

Published: January 11, 2007

Reporter Editor


The 14th edition of the Buffalo Film Seminars, the semester-long series of screenings and discussions sponsored by UB and the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, will open on Tuesday with a lineup of films that has been determined by the series' audiences.

Film-goers attending the series this past fall were asked to vote on which of the 182 films screened during the lifetime of the series they would most like to see again, says Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture in the departments of American Studies and English. "The spring 2007 series is based entirely on their votes," says Jackson, who hosts the series with Diane Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English.

The series will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, 639 Main St., in downtown Buffalo. Jackson and Christian will introduce each film. Following a short break at the end of the film, they will lead a discussion of the film.



The screenings are part of Contemporary Cinema (Eng 442), a course being taught by the pair. Students enrolled in the course are admitted free; others may attend at the Market Arcade's regular prices of $8 for adults, $6 for students and $5.50 for those 62 or over. Season tickets are available any time at a 15 percent reduction of the cost of the remaining films.

"Goldenrod handouts"—with production details, anecdotes and critical comments about each week's film—are available in the lobby of the Market Arcade 45 minutes before each screening and are posted at least a day before the screening at the Buffalo Film Seminars' Web site at http://buffalofilmseminars .com.


Free parking is available in the M&T fenced lot opposite the theater's Washington Street entrance. The ticket clerk in the theater will reimburse patrons the $2 parking fee.

The series will open on Jan. 16 with a screening of "The General," a 1927 film directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton. Regarded as one of the greatest silent films of all time—and arguably Keaton's best performance—the film had a huge budget for its time—$750,000. But it received bad reviews from critics and had poor results at the box office and did not gain recognition until many years later.


Set during the Civil War, Keaton plays Johnnie Gray, an engineer whose two loves are his train, the General, and Annabelle Lee. When Union spies capture the General, with Annabelle Lee on board, Gray must rescue both of his loves.

The remainder of the schedule, with descriptions culled from IMDb online movie database, as well as and

  • Jan 23: "Beauty and the Beast/La Belle et La Bête," 1946, directed by Jean Cocteau. Not the animated Disney edition, but rather Cocteau's delicate, dream-like version, one of the great cinema classics, starring Jean Marais and Josette Day.

  • Jan 30: "Triumph of the Will/Triumph des Willens," 1935, directed by Leni Riefenstahl. A visually brilliant and controversial documentary that uses the metaphor of athletic performance to celebrate the Third Reich.

  • Feb 6: "Pandora's Box/Die Büchse der Pandora," 1929, directed by Georg Wilhem Pabst. Few films come close to "Pandora's Box" for psychological and erotic depth. Louise Brooks is fabulous as Lulu in this film based on two plays by Franz Wedekind. Her look led to a comic strip—"Dixie Dugan"—and a social craze—flappers. Philip Carli will provide accompaniment on the electronic piano.

  • Feb 13: "Rules of the Game/La Règle du Jeu," 1939, directed by Jean Renoir. Renoir's most celebrated film, this satire of French class structure was banned in France until 1956. In the U.S., films were banned because they were too sexy; in France, they were banned because their ideas about society were too accurate.

  • Feb 20: "Bicycle Thief/Ladri di Biciclette," 1948, directed by Vittorio De Sica. A poor Italian spends long days seeking work. A job turns up for someone with a bicycle. He's got a bike, he gets the job, he's happy. The bike is stolen. With his young son, he spends his weekend looking for it. When "Bicycle Thieves" came out, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had no category for best foreign film, so it gave this film a special Academy Award.

  • Feb 27: "Tokyo Story/Tokyo Monogatari," 1953, directed by Yasujiro Ozu. A character study of the emotional strains within a middle-class Japanese family. A couple arrives in Tokyo from the countryside to visit their offspring and grow painfully aware of the chasms that exist between them and their children.

  • March 6: "Touch of Evil," 1958, directed by Orson Welles. A stunning, classic film noir that explores corruption and abuse of power, the film stars Welles, Charlton Heston, Marlene Dietrich and Janet Leigh.

  • March 20: "Lawrence of Arabia," 1962, directed by David Lean. British lieutenant T.E. Lawrence rewrites the political history of Saudi Arabia. The film, which garnered 10 Academy Award nominations and seven Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture, is considered by many to be Lean's best work.

  • March 27: "Contempt/Le Mépris," 1963, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Jack Palance, Brigitte Bardot and director Fritz Lang star in a perversely funny and cynical look at movie making.

  • April 3: "Dr. Strangelove," 1964, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick's brilliant, satirical, provocative black comedy/fantasy regarding doomsday and Cold War politics that features an accidental, inadvertent, pre-emptive nuclear attack. Peter Sellers received an Oscar nomination for his performances in three roles: as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a British officer on temporary duty in the office of psychotic SAC General Jack D. Ripper; as U.S. President Merkin Muffley; and as Dr. Strangelove, Muffley's teutonic science adviser whose wooden arm has a life of its own.

  • April 10: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly/Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo," 1966, directed by Sergio Leone. Three gunmen set out to find a hidden fortune. Who will walk away with the cash? Called "the best of the 'spaghetti westerns' and a true cinematic classic."

  • April 17: "Nashville," 1975, directed by Robert Altman. A multi-level, two-and-a-half-hour epic study of American culture, show business, leadership and politic, this movie is regarded as one of the great American films of the 1970s. The all-star cast includes Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Barbara Harris, Lily Tomlin, Elliot Gould and Julie Christie, among others.

  • April 24: "Singin' in the Rain," 1952, directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. Starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, "Singin' in the Rain" is a charming, up-beat, graceful and thoroughly enjoyable film with great songs, wonderful dances—including the spectacular "Broadway Melody Ballet" with leggy guest star Cyd Charisse—casting and story. It has been voted one of the greatest films of all time in international critics' polls and is routinely called the greatest of all the Hollywood musicals.